Has 21st Century Competition led to the Abolishment of Business Ethics?

Has 21st Century Competition led to the Abolishment of Business Ethics?

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”- George Orwell

On September 18th, 2015, United States Environmental protection agency issued a notice of violation of Clean Air Act against Volkswagen for tweaking its diesel engine in order to bypass the emission test. 11 million Cars, worldwide, between model year 2009 and 2015 were identified to have faulty systems. This proves how contemplating an unethical decision with its apparent short-term benefits is eventually a recipe for disaster.

For a business entity, ethics can be categorised as its responsibilities towards (i) its customers, (ii) its employees, (iii) the government and (iv) the ecological balance of our planet. We need ethics as they are vital for the proper functioning of the economic, political and social network which will eventually lead to the overall development of the human race.

So, how and why does unethical behaviour creeps into a system and make highly intellectual business leaders lose track of their ethical responsibilities? The answer lies in the fact that any deviation from ethical practices is mostly the result of the current competitive corporate culture or pressure from the higher managerial food chain, which can emerge when a company is unable to live up to its financial expectations. To overcome these bottlenecks, leaders eventually end up bending the rules and this is when ethics and policies collide.

Let us take an example of child labour. If a firm hires children as its major workforce, it can drive down its prices. Now to remain competitive, the rival firm has to relook into its cost structure and come up with an optimized price point. Should the firm also look to hire children in its workforce? Is it ethical? Will this help in cutting costs? The instinctive answers to these questions may be yes but in the long run, it will not serve the purpose of growth. History is full of references to organisations which have linked good ethical practices with their performance and have eventually outperformed their competitors financially.

Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices has listed Tata Steel and Wipro as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the year 2017 and 2018. Points are awarded to an organization based on; ethics and compliance program (35%), culture of ethics (20%), corporate citizenship and responsibility (20%), governance (15%) and leadership, innovation and reputation (10%). Prior to 2017, the Indian Steel giant, Tata Steel had also bagged this award in years 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016. Over decades, ethics has been a major driver for Tata Group. One of the core ethic business principles that the company follows is to fully support the development and operation of competitive open markets. It may be pointed out that this policy hampers the organization’s revenue, but In the long run, these policies promote a strong public image based on trust and relationship.

The challenge for those in business is to identify ways to do what is ethically correct while maximizing a shareholder’s wealth. Before taking any decision, the leadership of an organization must introspect what impact their decision will have on the organization and society as a whole in both the short and long run. The importance of ethics has been reinforced into business organisations and business individuals time and again.

As Henry Ford once said, “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business”. Ethics in businesses is present; the difficult question is how to make it more prevalent.

 

Authors: Saurav Dhar & Rishi Raj

PGPM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

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Life @ Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

Life @ Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

“Memories are the Timeless Treasures of the Heart….”

The Initiation

It seems as if it was just yesterday when I received an offer letter from Great Lakes and now, in just a blink of an eye, this beautiful journey has come to an end. The Gladiators (PGPM 2017-18 batch) are now well equipped with paramount insights and knowledge to enter the corporate life again with a new and improved outlook. I remember the day when I anxiously stepped into the campus for the first time, feeling like a pond fish that has crossed rivers to land up in a mighty ocean, wondering how I will adjust to this new environment.

Offsite – Rishikesh

The thought of living in a hostel at an entirely alien place with 120 unfamiliar faces gave me jitters. But the ice-breaking offsite trip to Rishikesh, organized by the institute along with Prof. S.K. Palhan, completely erased all my inhibitions. In a matter of just three days, the entire batch of 120 strangers formed an indestructible bond of friendship. All due credits to white water rafting, rappelling and various other team building exercises of which we all were a part of during our trip.

The Fabulous Faculty

Entering a classroom after working for 3+ years was a grilling experience, to say the least, but with less than 365 days on our Great Lakes calendar, there was no rest for the wicked. And thankfully, the faculty did a brilliant job at educating us with their extremely innovative and interactive teaching methods and techniques.

From Professor Umashankar’s quirky and witty marketing classes to learning the concepts of balance sheets and P&L statements with Dr Preeti, the months just flew by. Dr Poornima made the HR classes fascinating by adding a gaming element with lifelines and it was mandatory to go through pre-reads before entering Dr Jones’ classes which coupled with countless other assignments and projects felt exhausting at that time but helped grasp the key concepts in an effortless manner.

Lectures

Being from a software development background, I never imagined I’ll have anything to do with economics in my entire life but our esteemed Dr VP Singh made its concepts clear as a crystal by helping us create a small start-up and run the same in college for 20 days. The exercise turned the entire campus into a carnival. Everyone had their businesses up and running ranging from serving Nimbu-Pani and Bhel-Puri to Gaming zones and grocery delivery units. Later on, we analysed the revenue generated, break-even points etc.

Walking with the Giants

There was more than just classroom learning to Great Lakes as the industry interactions and CXO talks kept us busy throughout the weekends as well. People with extensive industry experience visited the campus and a lot of synergy took place. Being in the same room and interacting with some of the most celebrated names of the corporate world was like a dream come true for us.

Mr Pramod Sadarjoshi – Senior Director, HCM Strategy & Transformation, Asia- Pacific, ORACLE

Though inside the campus but never separated from the business world, we got ample opportunities to discuss the latest upcoming technologies and changes in the global framework of organizations. We participated in various conclaves related to SMAC, Human Resource, Marketing, operations and Finance where we had panel discussions among CXOs of different organizations to get an in-depth knowledge of the industry.

Committees, Clubs & Chaos

During the committee interviews, the entire campus was in chaos. We were all trying to find our strengths and decide where we fit in. Whether we’ll be a good fit for guiding prospective students for admissions or strengthening the brand of our institute? Whether organizing events was our cup of tea or assisting the institute with placements?

Admissions and BPR Committee

With a lot of preparation and cracking a grilling interview, I ended up in the Admissions and BPR committee. I was actively involved in the branding of the institute, writing blogs, handling the social media channels, volunteering for the admission process, answering queries of prospective students on Quora, guiding new admits under the flagship of Buddy Program and travelling to different locations for the same. This has given me a lot of exposure, and today, I am a completely changed and confident personality altogether.

Annual Events

We, as students, were responsible for organizing the events like TEDx, Crest (annual management fest), Sapience (annual management conclave), Foundation Day, Alumni Meet, and Dr Bala’s Birthday etc. Moreover, as a part of the Great lakes family, we also celebrated all the festivals from Onam, Lohri and Ganesh Chaturthi to Independence Day, Christmas and Holi with the same zeal and enthusiasm. Moreover, there were DJ nights, Fresher’s party, Halloween and a lot more parties which were organized to perfection by our student council.

TEDx GLIM Gurgaon

The Endgame

Lastly, not to forget, the point we all were here for – The Placement Process. The CCS team along with Placecom put in a lot of efforts in terms of interview preparation, GDs, resume review etc. Personal effectiveness sessions were conducted and mentors were allocated to students to have a smooth process. The proud feeling of getting placed and celebrating the placements of our friends was priceless.

This journey has been fantabulous and completely phenomenal amidst sleepless nights, group projects, assignments, exams, co-curricular activities and much more. The guidance and mentorship provided by faculty members and the staff paved our way for a better tomorrow. All of us have made friends, who will last a lifetime. The beautiful impressions will stay in our hearts forever. I would sum up this beautiful journey by saying,

“I’m really gonna miss this place, I am gonna miss my college days”

 

Author: Sakshi Khurana

PGPM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon